Celiac Disease-Not A Food Allergy.

Celiac Disease-Not A Food Allergy: Kellie Kennedy-One Baby Boomers View On Life.

Celiac Disease (CD), Ever heard of it? Not the  Gaelic pronunciation of “Celtic” Disease. Friends often have a puzzled look on their faces when I divulge that both my Mom and I struggle with this complicated and often debilitating disease. Most of my friends and family have not heard of celiac disease. If they have heard of the disease, their information tends to be just slightly incomplete or completely incorrect. I guess my job as someone living with the disease, is to better educate people on celiac so they understand it.

Cause of (CD), also known as celiac sprue or gluten sensitive enteropathy (GSE), is still a mystery. One out of 133 people in the United States is affected with celiac disease. CD occurs in 5-15% of the offspring and siblings of a person with celiac disease. In 70% of identical twin pairs, both twins have the disease. It is strongly suggested that family members be tested, even if asymptomatic. Family members who have an autoimmune disease are at a 25% increased risk of having celiac disease.

Celiac Disease (CD) is unique in that a specific food component, gluten, has been identified as the trigger. When people with CD eat gluten, the villi (tiny hair-like projections in the small intestine that absorb nutrients from food) are damaged. This is due to an autoimmune reaction to gluten. Damaged villi do not effectively absorb basic nutrients – proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and, sometimes, water and bile salts. If CD is left untreated, damage to the small bowel can be chronic and life threatening, causing an increased risk of associated disorders – both nutritional and immune related. Celiac Disease is not a food allergy – it is an autoimmune disease. Food allergies, including wheat allergy, are conditions that people can sometimes grow out of. This is not the case with Celiac Disease.

My mom and I do our very best to live a healthy lifestyle. We both know the pain of living with celiac disease. It is always an up hill battle everyday of our lives even trying to eat the correct foods. We both are on a “gluten-free” diet and do are best to stick to our special diet as closely as possible. Lord knows we are only human, we stumble and fall on this new journey. I tell my mom,”we can either let Celiac Disease take over our lives, or we can take control over Celiac Disease.” My mom is 82 years young, she does a marvelous job at trying to control her celiac by monitoring herself closely. I’m not sure many kids today stay as committed to a “gluten-free” diet as well as my mom does. On days when I feel like I am failing with my gluten-free goals; I think of my 82-year-old mom, kicking ass and determined to beat celiac disease.  If she can kick ass, even at age 82, this 49-year-old should be able to do the same . Next time I hear people speak of food allergies, I know I am helping others and providing life saving information about this disease. Celiac Disease is not a food allergy.

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by patrick pheasant on September 16, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    enjoyed the article learned a lot, Patrick


  2. Posted by Polly on September 17, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Love you mom!


  3. Posted by Sarah Hill on September 21, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    Many people with food allergies think they have this disease. Thank you for clarifying. Here is so more info I found during my research for those who do not have Celiac, but do have some type of food allergen: http://www.bettermedicine.com/topic/allergies/coping-with-food-allergies.


    • Your welcome Sarah. Yes I have some good friends myself who just have food allergies. I had them read some articles and books on Celiac Disease to see if their symptoms sounded like a match. After reading they realized they probably were not “Gluten” intolerant. I enjoy passing information along to people. My mother and I enjoy trying gluten free recipies. I will be posting those on my blog too.


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